Prisoner allegedly holds bail bondsman at gunpoint after escapin -

Prisoner allegedly holds bail bondsman at gunpoint after escaping handcuffs

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FARMINGTON, Mo. ( -- A bail bondsman in Farmington said he jumped from behind the wheel of a moving vehicle after a prisoner wrestled away his gun.

The incident began when Don Operle detained a 49-year-old who violated bond terms. While en route to the St. Francois County jail, the man allegedly escaped handcuffs and attempted to retrieve Operle's gun.

A fight over the weapon ensued, and the suspect gained control over it. Operle then reportedly leaped out the truck traveling at 35 mph, as the man worked to fix the gun that jammed during the tussle.

"That was my only option. I mean how long are you going to wrestle a person with a gun in your truck? Because if he gets it 'unjammed', I'm dead," said Operle.

Farmington police said officers captured the escapee after the vehicle ran off the road and crashed.

Operle sustained minor injuries, but said he plans to take a brief leave from work.

Charges are still pending in the case.

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